Oregon State University

Atmosphere Vegetation Interaction ATS564/FS564

Graduate level course, open also for undergraduates in their senior year.

Instructor: Christoph Thomas, and guest lecturers; this course will be taught every other year in Fall term (2009, 2011, 2013 etc); 3 CP.


leavesThis course is concerned with analyzing and quantitatively describing ways by which vegetation and the atmosphere interact. Students will apply principles from physics and biology to explore how the temperature, momentum, water, and carbon dioxide exchange of vegetation depend on atmospheric conditions. We will also discuss how vegetation in return affects the state of the atmosphere, and consequently how land use change may affect weather and climate.  Examples from natural vegetation, agriculture and forestry will be used. Finally we will explore experimental methods to measure atmospheric carbon, water and heat fluxes as well as their assumptions, and introduce concepts for modeling atmosphere-vegetation interaction at ecosystem and landscape scales.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • ats-fs564-graphicSolar and long-wave radiation budgets of leaves, canopies, soil
  • Light absorption, reflection, and transmission in plants canopies
  • Surface energy balance
  • Boundary layers of leaves, canopies, landscapes
  • Air flow, turbulence, and vertical exchange in plant canopies
  • Models to estimate evapotranspiration
  • Vegetation controls of water transport in the soil-plant-air continuum
  • Drought response of leaves and ecosystems
  • Terrestrial carbon cycle
  • Experimental methods to measure air exchange of carbon dioxide, methane, water, other trace gases
  • Introduction to eddy covariance method and other related techniques (e.g. relaxed eddy accumulation, gradient approach)
  • Use of stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in ecosystem research
  • Chemistry of tropospheric ozone, aerosols, volatile organic compounds
  • Vegetation and climate change: representing vegetation in climate models
Contact us if you consider taking this class or have any questions!

Contact Info

Oregon State University
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
130 Burt Hall
Corvallis, OR,
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